How to Earn Money as a Kid in 2021
Learning how to earn money as a kid is a right of passage that every adult has gone through. The siren call of video games, gas money, makeup, or candy is enough to make the most strong-willed kid pick up a side hustle to earn some cash.
We’ve all wanted to know how to get money as a kid, right? It’s the best way to learn what it takes to earn a paycheck, and how to save for purchases, rather than asking mom/dad/grandma/grandpa to get it for them.
Thankfully, no matter their age, there are plenty of easy ways for kids to make money. From helping relatives to electronics set up, there are plenty of jobs to fit every age group.
How to Make Money Without a Job as a Kid
So how do you help your kids earn cash (say, like, making a $100 fast)? Start by talking to them about their likes and dislikes, and what their expectations are for a job. Next, there are several guidelines to help find ways for your kids to earn money:
Suggest jobs based on their skill set, or what they enjoy doing. As we all know, it’s easier to do a job we like rather than one we despise, right? Play to their strengths and help them find something they enjoy doing.
Other factors to consider when figuring out how to make money as a kid are:
- Do they need transportation? If so, can they drive themselves, or will you need to provide it?
- Are there any legal guidelines that must be followed, due to age? (Hiring age, etc.)
- Will there be any start-up costs associated with the job? Start-up fees usually only apply to young entrepreneurs, but there is a chance they could need money for a uniform or tools to get started.
Suggest jobs based on the time of year. Learning how to make money in the summer as a kid has a whole different set of options than making money as a kid in the fall. There are different types of yard work, food stands, or even products they might make and sell, depending on the weather. If they want to earn money just for the summer, help them focus on finding a seasonal money making opportunity.
Now we have a starting point to figure out which types of jobs will work best for your kid. Next, we’ll dive into specific jobs based on age and location.
I’ve divided these great ideas into smaller subsections, including two age groups. While I don’t specify what the cutoff is age-wise between the two, feel free to use your judgment to decide if your children can handle the job or not based on their maturity level.
Jobs for Younger Kids
I’m sure you’re wondering, can an 11 year old work and get paid? Not really – there are a lot of first job options available for kids under 16. Most kids don’t get a part-time job until they’re 15 or 16, depending on where they live. However, there are plenty of ways kids who of a young age can earn money if they’re creative and have some free time.
Whether you’re looking for how to make money as a 12 year old, or have younger ones that want a weekly allowance, here’s how to make money without a job as a kid:
- Garage sale. My kids love to help whenever we have a garage or yard sale. It’s exciting and so much fun for them. As long as you can keep them from dragging unwanted items back into the house, they’re great at helping with making sales.
- Lemonade stand. Our next-door neighbors did one this summer and did amazingly well. Find a busy (and shady) location, and offer cheap refills.
- Bake sale. A bake sale can easily pair with the lemonade stand. Have the kids use their allowance to buy the supplies, so they understand what start-up costs are and how local businesses work. It’s also a great lesson in learning about kid businesses and how they make money!
- Scoop poop. Anyone with a dog can tell you what a pain it is to have to scoop poop. Picking up the yard is an easy, once a week job that any kid can do for their neighbors.
- Video game rental/Blu-ray rental. We have a ton of games that are well-loved but aren’t ready to sell. An easy solution is to create a lending library of games and movies with a rental fee. It’s a good way to experience new games without having to buy them.
- Sell homegrown produce or flowers. If your kid loves to garden, this could be a great way to exercise their green thumb and get rid of the tons of zucchini that you just can’t get cooked fast enough.
- Sell eggs. Assuming you already have chickens or are interested in getting some, this could be a fun task for young people. The consistency of gathering, prepping, and selling them will teach them persistence and keeping up with an on-going job.
- Upgrade to the farmers market. If produce, flower, or egg sales go well, take it to the farmer’s market and charge a higher price. While you’ll have to help them, they’ll also get more exposure and make more sales than word of mouth.
- Sell water, pop, or candy at local town events. This job involves checking to make sure you don’t need a permit, or you aren’t stepping on any toes. However, it’s a great learning opportunity for your kids to work on their social skills, dealing with money, and handling sales.
- Sell glow sticks at a fireworks night. Glow sticks are a brilliant side hustle that could easily make a pretty penny. Grab glow sticks from the Dollar Store or in bulk from Amazon, and start the sales early in the evening. Any time we’re at a place that sells glow sticks, my kids go nuts begging for them. I can’t imagine these won’t sell out in a heartbeat!
- Sell cookies during the holidays. For kids who love to bake, this is an easy money maker. Sadly, we’re usually all so busy that things like making cookies can often fall to the bottom of the list during the holidays. Baking supplies are cheapest in November and December, making start-up costs more affordable as well.
- Provide mail pick up. It’s not always easy to put in a request to stop mail delivery when going out of town, or worse when something unexpected happens. Kids can easily pick up the mail for neighbors while they’re away.
- Sell stuff to friends. Buy items in bulk and teach your kids about how the markup on products work. Some things to try might be candy, trinkets, jewelry, erasers, stickers, or whatever’s hot at the time.
- Enter pageants. Pageants are going to have a more significant learning curve and will need more money upfront to get started. While this could be a time-consuming effort, it’s also a higher-earning job for kids than a lot of other options. Decide if the tradeoff is worth the effort before dipping your toe into these waters.
- Recycle cans. Many states offer a refund on cans and bottles, so it’s an easy way for kids to earn income. If your state doesn’t do bottle returns, you can still take your cans, bottles, and scrap metal and turn it in. The payout is per the pound, so while it might take a while to earn a lot, it is an easy way to make some money for younger kids. Plus, you’re teaching them about recycling, so it’s a win-win!
- Collect and roll the change in the house. Sure, they’re not officially “earning” it – but rolling coins is a lot of work. Learn more about my secrets to cashing in change for free here.
The Easiest Ways for Teens to Make Money
While there aren’t a lot of ways to make money as a teenager without a job (sorry, guys!), it’s definitely easier to make money as older kids. They’re more independent and can generally drive themselves, which drops a lot of parental involvement.
These are the best ways to make money as an older kid, even with school and extracurricular activities.
- Try dog walking or pet sitting. Find neighbors who are out of town, too busy, or work a lot and offer to walk their dogs. Consider joining a service like Rover to build clientele and become a trusted resource. Rover also provides house sitting and drop-in visits, which will explain your kid’s services as well.
- Mow lawns, do yard work, or landscape. Plenty of people are too busy, too tired, or aren’t able to handle doing their yard work themselves. Chances are, your family already has the equipment needed, so there will be little to no start-up costs to begin doing yard work.
- Do a car wash or wash dogs. Again, adults are crazy busy, so washing, vacuuming, and detailing of their vehicles are always needed but rarely done. Same with dogs – it’s a dirty job, but someone needs to do it!
- Babysitting. Watching kids is one job that will always be around. If you want to be able to charge more, consider getting certified in CPR and safety through a local resource. You can also register with services like care.com or Sittercity to get access to more jobs.
- Run errands. If your kid can drive, this is a godsend for folks who are older, have trouble with mobility, or are just too plain busy. Try grouping errands together for multiple people to achieve more during your trips.
- Tutor. If you excellence at a particular subject, there’s usually someone that needs help with conquering it. Tutors can easily get $20 an hour or more, depending upon the topic. A good idea could include teaching music, reading, science, math, or foreign languages. VIPKid is a popular tutoring job, and worth checking out.
- Housesitting or checking in on a home while on vacation. It’s nice to have someone stop by your house when you’re on vacation to grab the mail, water plants, or check on pets that need less attention. Check out services like TrustedHousesitters to get a background check and find clients outside of your circle of friends and family.
- Teach swimming. If you have experience as a lifeguard, are on a swim team, or have taken swimming lessons, you can teach young kids the basics. Post flyers at the local pool or YMCA and offer your services.
- Window washing. Window washing is a chore that often gets ignored. Even cleaning companies tend not to offer those services. With some of the new tools out there like this, you’ll have those windows sparkling in no time.
- House cleaning. If you’re organized and are good at paying attention to detail, then house cleaning can be a quick way to make extra money. Cleaning can also be done with a friend to cover more area faster.
- Painting. Hire on with a painting crew to learn all the helpful tips and tricks, and then consider branching out on your own. You’ll earn more by working for yourself versus working for someone else. Look on NextDoor for work or your local Facebook groups.
- Power wash siding or sidewalks. Watch YouTube videos to learn tips and tricks to power washing, then find work through local online groups. Or, go door to door and see who’s interested in hiring you throughout your neighborhood.
- Clean gutters. Luckily, this is pretty easy, assuming you’re ok with climbing a ladder. Try using a shop vac to suck the leaves and blockage out rather than tossing them on the ground and having to clean them up a second time.
- Put up holiday decor. Some people with mobility issues (due to various reasons) want their decorations up but don’t (or can’t) do the work. Not only do they need help with outdoor lights and decorations, but even decorating the house and putting up the tree as well. Decorating would be a fun and rewarding job, helping to spread holiday cheer to those who need it!
- Christmas tree disposal. Not every garbage company will pick up trees, so over to haul them. Try to condense trips to save money and time.
- Haul away service. If you have access to a truck, a hauling service is useful for people doing DIY projects. Also, try trading in scrap metal. You’ll often find old dishwashers, tubs, etc. at the curb. Have a friend handy to drive around and help load these finds, and turn them in for scrap metal cash.
- Help set up electronics. I’ll be the first to say that there’s this weird invisible line you cross at a certain age when technology suddenly starts to make less sense. Not sure why this happens, but having a personal IT tech around would be very helpful!
- Digitize pictures and videos. Offer services to scan and store photos and videos. Not only will it help declutter, but it’ll help keep these priceless memories forever.
- Computer maintenance or repair. Again, electronics can be tricky. If you have a knack for understanding how electronics work, offer to do monthly updates or be an on-call repair person.
- Be a mother’s helper. Seriously, I wish I would have known these existed! A mother’s helper is someone who helps out when mom’s around but keeps the kids busy while she’s doing paperwork, making calls, or taking a shower without interruption. I would have paid a pretty penny for this, and probably still would!
- Offer organization services. Let’s face it – just about everyone’s garage or basement is a hot, hot mess. Offer to clean and organize it with storage bins and bike racks. It’ll be worth it if they can finally get their car back in the garage!
- Put together swing sets and other things for people who aren’t handy. If you’re handy and good at reading instructions, offer your services at putting together furniture, bookshelves, or outdoor toys.
- Be a birthday party helper. At some point, parents start to drop their kids at parties rather than sit through it with them. That’s where you come in. Offer to help the parents with wrangling the herd of hungry kids with games, face painting, stories, or food. Whatever they need to help keep the masses under control!
- Be a spa specialist at birthday parties. Offer your services at braiding hair, painting nails, pedicures, or makeup. Make sure to have plenty of applicators to avoid double-dipping and keep your makeup stash clean!
- Party clean up. Offer a cleanup service for parties, especially at public places like parks, libraries, or play areas. It’s one less thing for parents to deal with on party day.
- Face painting. If you have an artistic flair, track down some face painting ideas on Pinterest or YouTube and grab a set like this one. Please, make sure to use paint that’s specifically for body and not anything else! Set up a work area at the park, during local events, or offer your services during birthday parties.
- Shovel sidewalks and driveways. Go door to door when it snows and offer to shovel. Better yet, rent a snowblower from someone you know and cover more ground faster. You’ll make back your rental fee and then some!
- Clean carpets and furniture. Rent a machine and offer to clean carpets or furniture, or often neglected car seats (but need it so much more!).
- Pet sit. The best place to find clients is through word of mouth or a service like Rover to find clients. Offer to check-in multiple times at their house, or to bring their pet to your home. While this takes some more prep work, you can charge more by bringing them to your house since they’ll be less lonely and will have more interaction.
- Pick up a paper route. Yes, paper routes still exist, and delivery folks are still needed.
- Offer to do odd jobs for seniors. Seniors are generally independent but can still need help with various tasks. Offer to drive them to doctors’ appointments, fix stuff around the house, or help them with organizing and paying bills.
- Farm chores. If you live in a farming community, there are most likely farms that need laborers to help with everything from crops to horses. Farm work is a great way to get in some serious physical activity while making some cash.
- Pick up odd jobs off of NextDoor. I see posts all the time by neighbors who need work done like painting, putting together swing sets, raking leaves, and hanging lights, just to name a few. Sign up for an account and jump on jobs when posted.
- Flip furniture. Grab furniture pieces with potential (like old dressers) from yard sales and learn how to chalk paint them.
How to Make Money as a Kid at Home / Offline
Maybe working outside the home or online isn’t easy for your kid. No worries, there are tons of additional ways to make money from home that they can do in their spare time.
- Get paid for extra chores around the house. I always tell my kids to negotiate first. Otherwise, they’re just doing it to be kind and help out.
- Make items with your school name or mascot and sell them. It’s easy to figure out how to make good money as a kid at school. Anything from t-shirts to hair bows to buttons and water bottles can be printed with the school’s logo and sold. These will be easy to sell just by wearing them to school as advertising!
- Make and sell pet treats and toys. Find recipes and ideas off of Pinterest, and sell these to neighbors and friends.
- Bow or earring holders. I’ve seen these at craft shows, flea markets, and even home remodeling expos, and people love them. Again, look to Pinterest for design ideas.
- Make jewelry. Thanks to stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby, there are a ton of options for beads, charms, chains, and trinkets to make unique jewelry.
- Consign clothes, purses, shoes, and bags. There are lots of great consignment shops now, including Plato’s Closet, Uptown Cheapskate, and Once Upon a Child, not to mention other local stores. (There are also online versions like Poshmark, ThredUp, Worthy, and Kidizen to consider as well.) It’s the perfect way to clear out your clutter for cash!
- Provide a gift-wrapping service. Charge per gift and provide a variety of wrapping paper. Have the gifts dropped off, then offer to deliver them to the buyer after wrapping.
- Make scrunchies, headbands, and barrettes. Word on the street is that scrunchies are back in. My inner 9-year-old can’t believe it! They’re surprisingly easy to make and customizable by purchasing different fabrics to use.
- Tie-dye or batik. Just about anything can be tie-dyed or batiked, so let your imagination run wild!
How to Earn Money as a Kid Online
Now that COVID is a concern, it’s important to figure out how to make money as a kid in quarantine to keep everyone safe. Thanks to the internet there are so many more options for kids to do work now. From online surveys to selling items online, there’s an option for just about every age and ability. Plus, these jobs are perfect for kids in the winter! Here are the best online jobs for kids:
- Create a blog. I’d be crazy not to mention this one, right? Luckily, blogs are straightforward to set up, and there are a ton of courses out there to help you do everything from finding your niche to marketing your blog and building traffic. It can be a great way to build income for college!
- Become a vlogger / create YouTube videos. It will take a bit to build a following, but once you get there, you’ll have the means for some comfortable passive income with your own YouTube channel.
- Pick up jobs on Fivver. Fivver is an easy way to grab freelance work without having to do a lot of networking. It’s a platform where users can find freelancers to complete tasks, like creating a logo or doing a bit of coding. You can learn more about it here.
- Join survey sites. Surveys are an easy way to earn money while you’re waiting around or watching tv in the evening. I suggest trying out Swagbucks, Opinion Outpost, or MySoapBox.
- Design websites. If you have an affinity for design and coding, then it’s very worth your while to try your hand at websites. With CMS options like WordPress, it’s becoming easier and easier to build sites, so there’s less coding involved.
- Start a podcast. Love to talk or do interviews? Buy some basic equipment and editing software to start a Podcast.
- Sell photography. Stock photography sites are always looking for new photos to sell. Just upload your photos, and you’ll receive a payment each time someone buys your pictures.
- Sell designs or fonts. If your keen on graphic design, sell your creations or try your hand at making a font. Creative Market is an example of an online marketplace where you can sell your designs, fonts, and photography.
- Create and sell crafts on Etsy. Esty is perfect for selling not only physical goods but digital downloads as well. While most people sell material craft creations, you can also sell things like printables and SVGs files for Cricut machines.
- Sell t-shirt designs. Sites like CafePress allow you to create the design and sell it. Once sold, they deal with creating the shirt and shipping it out. The only thing you have to provide is the design file.
- Sell used items. Thanks to the growth of sites like Decluttr, eBay, Craigslist, NextDoor, and Facebook Marketplace, any of these are a great place to sell your used items. Learn more about how to sell on eBay with this step-by-step tutorial. Another great resource is the Fleamarket Flipper to learn how to look for things that are easy to flip for a profit.
- Buy things in bulk (or for cheap) and resell them. Reselling bulk items is called retail arbitrage, and it’s big. It’s primarily done on Amazon and can turn into a thriving business with some research and hard work.
- Provide tech support. For older folks (or, hey – me – because I’m on the cusp, apparently), just having someone who can explain issues with tech is a Godsend. There’s nothing more frustrating than just not understanding why something’s not working. It’s worse when forced to deal with a rude IT guy who doesn’t want even to be there. Here’s where you step in, save the day, and help a technically challenged person (me) out, all while making some extra cash. That’s a win-win, my friend.
- Test websites. I love, love usertesting.com. It’s effortless to get set up and you’ll get paid $10 for every test you complete. The tasks are easy to complete, and I actually enjoy doing them. It’s helped me with speaking up during work meetings as well, since you have to talk about your thoughts and opinions while testing.
- Sell online for others. Again, for those technically challenged folks, they might want to sell things online, but don’t want to make the effort of learning Etsy, eBay, or Craigslist. Offer to list their items for them, and get paid 10% of the sale as a fee for dealing with the listings and buyer communications.
- Set up social media accounts and teach others how to use it. I think this doesn’t even need explained – some people just need help with Facebook. 😉
- Write reviews. Websites like Slicethepie.com will pay you to write reviews. Just be careful – it’s against terms of service with companies like Amazon to get paid for reviews there. To run afoul of them would not be in your best interest!
- Teach computer programs. Skype, Facetime, Photoshop, Excel – whatever you’re good at, offer to teach others. Provide one-on-one sessions to help answer questions and provide hands on training.
- Learn SEO. I love this idea because it can lead to a very high paying job in the future if you enjoy it. Learn how websites and ads need to be optimized for search engines. If you’re technical and good at writing, this is right up your alley! Learn more about search engine optimization here.
Now that they know how to make their own money as a kid, learn more about financial literacy for kids, or try a Greenlight card. Learn more by reading my Greenlight card review, and if it’s the best debit card for kids.
So which jobs are you going to try? While it might be hard to get a traditional job, there are plenty of ways to make money when you’re 10, 11, 12, or older with a bit of creativity and determination!
Interested in more ways to earn money as a parent or kid? Check out this ultimate list of legit side hustles to try!
Do you know how to earn money as a kid during COVID that I haven’t mentioned? Add it to the comments below!
A forty-ish web designer/developer by day, a budget & financial fanatic by night. I’m a mom, wife, avid reader, and DIY enthusiast who’s tracking our journey to debt freedom. Read More